The leader of La France insoumise (LFI) Jean-Luc Mélenchon was released on Thursday after a defamation complaint filed against him by the former first president of the Court of Auditors François Logerot. The 17e chamber of the Paris judicial court declared “void” the complaint with civil action filed by Mr. Logerot, president of the national commission for campaign accounts and political financing (CNCCFP) between 2005 and 2020.
François Logerot, 86, present at the hearing, criticized Mr. Mélenchon for remarks broadcast in videos and in a book after the CNCCFP had made a report relating to suspicions of irregularity in the accounts of LFI during the campaign presidential election in 2017. This report had paved the way for a preliminary investigation and searches at the headquarters of LFI and at the home of Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Comments “devoid of a vulgar or filthy character”
In the videos posted online in October 2018, just after the searches, Mr. Mélenchon notably described Mr. Logerot as “incapable” and “moron” or even “bankrupt president of the campaign account control commission”. For the court, if there is “a dose of exaggeration” in the comments prosecuted, the latter “do not exceed the permissible limits of freedom of expression”. The court further noted that Mr. Mélenchon’s remarks are “devoid of vulgar or filthy character”.
Regarding the passages of the book And so on denounced by Mr. Logerot and in which Mr. Mélenchon denounced Mr. Logerot’s salary increase of 57% after the report and concluded “ingratitude is badly accepted in these circles”, the court ruled that Mr. Mélenchon can benefit from “the excuse of good faith”.
In the case of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s campaign accounts during the 2017 presidential election, the Paris Court of Appeal validated last September the indictments pronounced in this investigation. The association L’Ere du peuple, which was the candidate’s service provider during his 2017 campaign, was thus indicted in February 2022 for forgery, use of forgery, fraud and attempted aggravated fraud.
The financial agent of the LFI candidate, Marie-Pierre Oprandi, was indicted in April 2021 for illicit loan of labor and use of forgery, then in September 2021, the LFI deputy Bastien Lachaud, who was then an employee as treasurer of the association, was in turn prosecuted, mainly for illicit loan of labour, forgery, fraud and attempted fraud.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon disputes any violation in this investigation and in a second judicial investigation, still in progress, concerning the employment of LFI’s parliamentary assistants in the European Parliament.